Comelec wants bigger 2021 budget to buy more VCMs for 2022 polls
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has sought a higher budget for next year in order to procure new vote-counting machines for the 2022 national elections.
During the House deliberations on the poll body’s proposed budget for 2021, Director James Jimenez said Comelec aims to buy more machines to address the expected increase in the number of voters by 2022.
“Ang problema kasi ay hindi lamang ‘yung edad ng makina kung hindi ‘yung dami rin ng taong gagamit. Ine-expect natin na dadami ang ating mga botante dahil year-on-year, talaga namang tumataas ‘yung ating list of voters,” he said Thursday.
(The problem is not just the age of the machine but also the number of people that will be using them. We are expecting that the number of voters will increase as year-on-year, our list of voters is really increasing.)
“At kapag marami ang botante at nagsisiksikan sila sa isang makina, medyo unsafe ‘yan pagdating sa sitwasyon nating pandemya ngayon,” he added.
(And when there are many voters crowding a machine, that’s somehow unsafe under our situation now that we are in a pandemic.)
Aside from making sure that fewer people are going to use the same machine in the elections, Comelec is also preparing to enforce election safety protocols against COVID-19 in case a vaccine remains unavailable by 2022.
Jimenez likewise called on Congress to act on pending bills that would allow alternative modes of voting, including voting by mail.
Comelec’s original budget proposal was P14.57 billion, but the Department of Budget and Management slashed it to P14.34 billion.
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